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Magicians kick it up a notch — even making a helicopter materialize on stage — in four new Las Vegas shows

Magicians kick it up a notch — even making a helicopter materialize on stage — in four new Las Vegas shows
Las Vegas-based illusionist Jason Bird enjoys emotionally engaging his audiences during performances of "Masters of Illusion," which opened at Bally's in mid-December. (Ethan Miller)

With flames illuminating a darkened showroom and a helicopter appearing out of nowhere, it’s clear that magic is as popular as ever with Las Vegas visitors. Three new shows recently opened and a fourth is set to launch in late January.

"Masters of Illusion" features five magicians with differing styles. Greg Gleason appears to materialize a full-size helicopter out of thin air in his act.
"Masters of Illusion" features five magicians with differing styles. Greg Gleason appears to materialize a full-size helicopter out of thin air in his act. ("Masters of Illusion")

1. ‘Masters of Illusion’

The most recent addition, “Masters of Illusion,” wowed a crowd that included fellow magicians on opening night last Thursday.

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The live production, based on the CW television show of the same name, is the first engagement in the Jubilee Showroom at Bally’s since the long-running showgirl spectacle closed in February 2016.

In this show, five magicians plus a dozen dancers appear onstage.

“We all bring our own personal style to it,” magician Jason Bird said in an interview. “We’ve got one guy who does comedy magic. We’ve got big illusions a couple of guys do. My stuff is very theatrical, very storytelling.”

Greg Gleason appears to materialize a full-size helicopter before spectators’ eyes. In his part of the show, Bird uses a drone during a card trick. In another skit, he interacts with a lonely lady who appears to be feeding imaginary birds on a park bench.

“I like to get people emotionally involved,” he observed.

“Masters of Illusion” begins at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays. Tickets start at $49.

Magician Joe Labero, center, doesn't need a match to light his cigar as he and dancers sizzle amid flames during "Inferno."
Magician Joe Labero, center, doesn't need a match to light his cigar as he and dancers sizzle amid flames during "Inferno." (Phoenix Productions)

2. ‘Inferno’

Next door at Paris Las Vegas, the internationally acclaimed fire-charged “Inferno” will arrive Jan. 24.

Full of flaming stunts and pyrotechnics, the show has delighted audiences across Asia and Europe. Sweden’s Joe Labero, a four-time winner of magic’s prestigious Merlin Award, brings the gasoline-soaked illusions to life with help from Britain’s Fuel Girls.

The show will be run Wednesdays through Sundays; tickets from $49.

Borrowing techniques first perfected by the legendary Harry Houdini, magician David Goldrake manages to free himself from bonds that keep him trapped underwater for two minutes.
Borrowing techniques first perfected by the legendary Harry Houdini, magician David Goldrake manages to free himself from bonds that keep him trapped underwater for two minutes. (Tropicana Las Vegas)

3. ‘David Goldrake Imaginarium’

After performing in 20 countries, Luxembourg native David Goldrake began a residency a few months ago at Tropicana, a bold move since magic legend David Copperfield performs across the street at the MGM Grand.

“David Goldrake Imaginarium” appears to defy the laws of physics — and a few other sciences — during his show. One bit recalls a trick made famous by Harry Houdini roughly a century ago.

As guests look on, Goldrake, wrapped in a straitjacket and dangling upside down, is submerged in a tank of water. During the feat, he holds his breath for about two minutes before freeing himself from his restraints.

Goldrake’s mix of classic and modern magic earned him the Mandrake d’Or award in 2010. Other winners have included longtime Las Vegas performers Siegfried & Roy.

Goldrake performs Tuesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $50.

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During Dirk Arthur's "chrome ball illusion," a dancer emerges unscathed from a flaming basket through which the magician passes several swords.
During Dirk Arthur's "chrome ball illusion," a dancer emerges unscathed from a flaming basket through which the magician passes several swords. (Katipo Creative)

4. ‘Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic’

Off the Strip, magician Dirk Arthur in November landed at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. His latest incarnation, “Dirk Arthur Wild Magic,” is tamer than his previous shows, since his big cats (he has performed with tigers and ligers) are missing from this gig.

Arthur performs at 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets from $30.

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